The Club: An Illustrated Guide
Let us walk you through isthisyours? riotous all-female, three-actor version of David Williamson’s The Club.
isthisyours? is an independent theatre company comprised performers Jude Henshall, Louisa Mignone, Nadia Rossi and Ellen Steele, and director Tessa Leong. They’ve always made self-devised original work, like the 2017 smash-hit Angelique, but decided to take on the Australian canon and radically reinvent David Williamson’s hilarious comedy The Club.
The Club tells the story of a famous football club on the brink of change. The old guard wants loyalty to the club, honour - football, for them, is a way of life. The new guard see football as a business - it’s about buying players and making as much money as possible.
Both teams want to win a premiership and want ‘the club’ to be successful, but success means very different things to very different people. It’s a story about ego, bad male behaviour and politicking. It takes place in and out of the boardroom. There’s a lot of macho posturing, a lot of sneaky tactics and a lot of spilt whiskey.
The script remains completely untouched. But the presentation of the show will see the company take the work to a completely new place.
Each actor plays two characters and will play cross-gender, meaning women will be performing as men.
Nadia Rossi plays Jock, a vile member of the committee, and Ted, the club’s president.
Louisa Mignone plays Geoff, a new star-recruit who has been bought by the club, and Gerry, the club’s new administrator.
Ellen Steele plays Laurie, the coach, and Danny, an ageing star player.
In a recent interview, David Williamson said that The Club is a comedy about bad male behaviour and no one understands that better than women. The show comes at a time where we, as a society, are questioning a lot of our traditional ways of doing things. Of understanding. Gender is, slowly, becoming more fluid. Our storytelling is becoming more diverse and the footy field, with the rise of AFLW, has never looked more different.
David Williamson’s The Club (an all-female, three-actor version) comes at a time of social and political upheaval. Their radical reinvention onstage parallels radical change in every facet of the world we live in.
According to writer Alisa Solomon, cross-gender performance creates a “spectatorial distance that not only rejects patriarchal conventions of realism,” but also encourages the audience to “think about and against conventions of gender.” In The Club, isthisyours? are asking big questions not just about gender as it relates to the news cycle (although they are definitely talking about those things), but about gender as it relates to theatre and storytelling in and of itself.
When you see The Club you’ll be asked to question how we tell, consume and understand stories and the gendered traditions associated with those stories. If we understand The Club to be a classic piece of Australian storytelling (and how could we not?), this all-female, three-actor version of the show asks us to think about what the future of Australian storytelling looks like.
And does so while making us laugh… a lot.
isthisyours? takes a classic and makes it dizzy with new ideas. It’s a bold, anarchic experiment in theatre-making that we’re thrilled to share with you.
David Williamson’s The Club (an all-female, three-actor version) plays in the Space Theatre from 05 -20 of April. You can purchase your tickets here.